..or how to turn a 2x into a (almost) 1x
Resawing lumber is a lot like ripping… it’s making long cuts in a board. Instead of lengthwise (rip cuts or ripping) the slices are made to the width or thickness of the board. For clarity it has a different name- resawing. The easiest way to do it is on a bandsaw. I don’t have one. If you don’t either, here is how you can do it on a table saw. (If you don’t know what these saws do, read about their uses on types of saws for your woodshop.
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Resawing lumber isn’t hard, though it isn’t quick and easy either- It is also not for those who are terrified of table saws.
It is extremely important that you pay FULL attention when you’re doing this. You can really hurt yourself. WEAR safety glasses and you will need breathing protection as well- this process creates a LOT of dust.
I had some 2×6 boards that I needed to use for a project made with 1×6 and smaller boards. I prefer to use what I have when I can, so I decided to slice these boards in half lengthwise.
You don’t want to use a fine finish blade with lots of teeth for resawing lumber. Less teeth gives a rougher finish, but faster cut and much easier on the motor of your saw. I changed out my usual blade for a Dewalt 24 tooth blade on my table saw.
You’ll need to figure out where to set the fence. Take the current width of the lumber (in this case, 1.5″), subtract the width of the saw blade (called the kerf) and divide that number by 2. In this case it was right about 23/32 of an inch (just under 3/4″).
Do a test cut so you don’t mess up your good lumber. Set your blade at a height of about 1″ and run the board through the blade. Measure on each side of the cut and make adjustments as necessary to make them as close to equal as possible.
Once you have the spacing adjusted, mark the fence side of your board. Running the same side of the board against the fence every time will make your finished piece equal width all the way through on both sides. It doesn’t matter how you mark them. Double and triple check every time that the same side is against the fence before you cut. It will involve flipping the board. It is very important you do this.
Using a makeshift jig on the other side of the saw blade can help keep the board straight during the cut. I clamped down a piece of plywood at a hair over 1.5″ to keep the board on target and keep it from drifting or sliding sideways while pushing it through.
Once you have cut a 1″ groove on both sides of the board, raise the blade another 3/4 to 1″.
Run the board back through again, remembering to hold the marked side against the fence again. Repeat on the other side.
Raise the blade the last 3/4 of an inch or so (to about 2.75″) and run both sides again. That last cut is very satisfying.
Congratulations! You now have two (roughly) 1×6 boards!
They will still need a quick hit with a sander to be “pretty”. However, your project will now weigh much less than it would have if you built it with lumber twice as thick and you know how to resaw lumber with a table saw!
TIPS TO REMEMBER:
- PAY ATTENTION!
- Wear your safety gear
- PAY ATTENTION!
- Always put the same side of the board against the fence
- PAY ATTENTION!
- Don’t raise the blade more than 1″ at a time. This keeps stress off the table saw motor.
- Slow and steady wins the race. Don’t force anything and let the blade do the work.
- Lastly, PAY ATTENTION! I really want you to keep all your appendages intact.